Do you know what a rebozo is? It is a traditional hand woven fabric from the Central America. it is generally used to carry a baby or a toddler, as a shawl, and as a blanket. It is also used when people carry something on their head. It’s placed between their head and basket, so it helps to keep the basket in place. I learned that women wearing a rebozo represents they are married in Mexico. Its size is about 280cm in length and about 70cm in width in general.
Rebozo comes in handy during pregnancy and childbirth. You can wrap your belly or pelvic area to help relax your back and pelvic area and to ease back pain during pregnancy. While in labor, your birth partner can use a rebozo to give pain relive massage by rocking and compressing your hip or lifting your belly. Rebozo can also help you to stay in desirable posture. Very well experienced midwives have skills to move baby’s position in the uterus to preferred position for labor. After birth, a woman is wrapped in multiple rebozos for the sealing ceremony. This helps the mother’s body to heal faster.
In May of 2020, I took DONA International birth doula training which is taught by a Brazilian birth doula trainer in California. I learned about rebozos from her. She advised me to purchase rebozos from Mexico and learn the techniques from the professionals in Mexico to show respect for the indigenous wisdom and history of the rebozo. Three rebozos in the photo on the top are rebozos I own. I purchased them from a seller in Mexico which produces authentic hand woven rebozos and give back some of their profit to the local midwives and community. I also started taking online midwifery course taught by Mexican midwife, Naoli Vinaver in order to learn techniques of rebozos. She teaches techniques of rebozos in workshops all over te world. She also teaches midwifery course online in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French. She is one of the great contributors to share the great use of rebozos in childbirth worldwide.
I recently found a book of rebozo techniques translated to Japanese and purchased it. I’ve been learning rebozo techniques and can’t wait to let you experience the use of rebozos during your childbirth.
今回の助産師さんは自分の診療所を持たないので、定期検診は毎回我が家にきてくれました。子宮底、胎児の心音、血圧測定はするのですが、「体重はチェックしないんです！しばらくした後に、「体重はチェックしないんですか？」と聞いたら、「あなたを見ていたら、健康なのが分かるから体重はチェックしなくても大丈夫よ！」と言われ、眼から鱗でした。そして内診もありません。分娩の時に必要な物品のリストをもらい、近隣のお店やネットショッピングなどで揃えました。アメリカには産褥パッドは無くて、新生児用のおむつで代用するんですよ。準備品のリストの中には、Herbal sitz bath mixというものがありました。5回目にして初めて知りました。浴槽や桶にお湯を張り、ハーブミックスの入った袋を入れてお尻が浸かるようにし入るんです。抗炎症作用のあるハーブが出産でダメージを受けた陰部の炎症を和らげてくれるんです。産後に２度ほど行いましたが、気持ち良かったです。
頭が子宮口まで降りて来たのを感じ、ベビーとのご対面が近づいて来たと分かったので、プールの中に入りました。プールにはぬるめのお湯が入っていて、腰部の痛みを緩和してくれました。5回目の出産というのもあるだろうけれど、何度もいきんで押し出そうというよりもベビーが自分から出てくる力と重力に任せてみようと何となく感じたんですよね。多分いきんだのは最後の2〜3回の陣痛だけだったと思います。なんだかベビーの頭が子宮口を通ってから生まれるまでの間が、快感と至福感に満たされていた様に感じました。そして午前２時ごろ、生まれて来た我が子を私自身が水の中でキャッチし、とっさに性別確認。It’s a girl! と宣言。助産師さんが首に絡まったヘソの緒を外してくれて胸元に抱き上げました。一息ついてプールから出て、近くに敷いたマットレスに横になり胎盤が出てくるの待ち、胎盤は防水シーツに包みベビーと私の横に置かれ、へその緒は切らずにしばらくの間胎盤と繋がったまま過ごしました。へその緒が脈を打っている間は胎盤からベビーへ栄養が送られているので、ベビーが胎盤の栄養を吸収し終わってからへその緒を切りました。その間にベビーに初乳をあげながら私は休息。娘の体重は3968g！私の子供の中で一番の重さです。一番小さかった2番目の子と比べると約1400gの違い…
I participated in the Zoom meeting held by Doulaship Japan to discuss and share experience about home birth. I thought I should share my home birth experiences here just in case if anyone was curious about it.
I gave birth to my 4th child at home in New York, and my 5th child in Hawaii. How I got an idea of having a home birth was the experience from giving a birth to my 3rd child at a birth home. It was such a nice and comforting experience. This made me think that I would love to have a home birth if I have a chance to have another baby.
I had my 4th child at home in New York. The birth team had 2 midwives and a doula in training. The doula only showed up at at the birth and observed it. The midwives had plenty of experiences and were very knowledgeable. They had right answers right away to the every questions we asked. Their office was 30 minutes drive away from my house, and we always went there for checkups. We had a checkup once at my house during the 3rd trimester, to confirm the location and how my house is like. The midwives checked weight, blood pressure, fetal heart beat, height of uterus, circumference of abdomen, and urine.
I still did not have any sign of labor other than softened cervix during the 41st week. The midwife gave me a massage to stimulate my cervix when I went in for a checkup. They also told me that having sex can onset labor because it can stimulate oxytocin secretion.
On 42nd week and 1st day, I noticed that labor was starting in the morning after kids left for school. I started cooking large amount of stew, so we have meal prepared for at least 2 days. Late in the afternoon, contraction was becoming stronger, and the team of midwives and a doula showed up. They brought a birth stool with them. We had our bed set up by spreading shower curtain over the bed, so we didn’t have to worry about leaving any stains. The birth stool was placed next to the bed.
I always have severe lower back pain during labor. The pain is so strong, I don’t even feel pain from contractions. I asked someone to compress my lower back if there was anyone available.
After 10 hours of labor, my daughter was born into palms of my husband. She weighed 3706g. I went on the bed with my baby after placenta came out, and started nursing her. Then the midwife sutured the perineal tear. The birth team cleaned up everything and left a couple of hours later. They came back for a checkup few days later.
The 2nd home birth took place in Hilo, Hawaii. The midwife I fond this time was relatively new to midwifery but she was very knowledgeable about herbs and naturopathy. She made me feel relaxed and very comfortable being with her. She had a very well experienced midwife to assist her.
The midwife came to my house for every checkups since she didn’t have an office. I noticed that she never checked my weight, so I asked her why she didn’t do it. The answer was that she was always observing how I looked, and I always looked healthy, so she didn’t have to check my weight. It was very surprising to me because Japanese OBs are very strict about weight gain. I also never had vaginal exam with her.
I was planing a water birth. I thought I have to spend a lot of money to rent a birth tub, but she told me that I could just get a kiddy pool. I found a kiddy pool that was deeper than ordinal one, so I could be submerged deep enough. I also found a perfect step stool to sit on while I was in water.
It was 41st week when I started feeling contractions late in the morning. Again, I started cooking large amount of stew like last time. I prepared all the items I needed for the birth on a table. I set up a kiddy pool in the living room. Midwives arrived in the evening as my contractions got closer to each others. Everyone was relaxed and talking cheerfully. I just kept walking around the living room when I wasn’t having contractions to let gravity help the baby to come lower. Midwives entrusted everything to me and just watched from afar. This just let me follow my instinct. I felt this was truly a natural birth. I kept moving around until I felt the baby’s head coming through cervix. Then I went into the pool. Oh, the warm water in the pool felt really nice, and the pain in my back was eased a little. I didn’t have to push until the last few contractions. I was 2 o’clock in the morning when my baby came into my hands in the water. I caught my own baby! It was an incredible experience. From the moment I felt the baby’s head coming through cervix and till she came out into this world, I had amazing feeling of pleasure and fulfillment. I’ve never had this kind of feeling during other births. She weighed 3968g. She was the heaviest of all my babies.
I started nursing my daughter while she was still connected to the placenta. The placenta was wrapped in a disposable waterproof pad and was put next my daughter. The umbilical cord was kept uncut until the pulse in the cord stopped. The midwife told me that a baby can receive more nutrients from placenta if it was kept uncut until the pulse stops. My daughter and I moved to my bed after umbilical cord was cut. Then the midwife sutured perineal tear.
The placenta was put in the ziplock and kept in the freezer. I planted dragonfruit together with the placenta in my yard at a later date. This childbirth was the amazing experience. I was fortunate that my condition and circumstances allowed me to experience this.
You should definitely consult with midwives if you were interested in having a home birth. I would love to give you as much as support as possible as a doula so that you will be able to an experience satisfying and happy birth.
Since staying home and social distancing is recommended due to COVID-19 outbreak, I now offer online doula support.
As a birth doula, I will join you for check-ups and birth through video call or phone call if your doctor allows it. As a postpartum doula, I will offer any postpartum support through phone call, video call and text messaging. The fee for this service is 500 yen per 15 minutes.